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Kiwis Should Prepare For Y2K Interruptions

New Zealanders urged to prepare for possible 3 days of interruption to essential services in New Year

The Y2K Readiness Commission’s public information programme kicked off today with television advertisements urging all New Zealanders to prepare their households for a possible 3 day interruption to one or more essential services between 31 December 1999 and 31 March 2000.

Y2K Readiness Commission Chairman, Basil Logan, said New Zealand was well prepared for Y2K by international standards, but that didn’t mean we could assume that we would not be affected.

“Sectors (representing essential services such as water and power), and local and central government have been working hard to prepare for Y2K. But there are no guarantees that we will avoid interruptions to essential services.”

“The Y2K Readiness Commission’s current view is that any interruptions are likely to be localised and of short duration. But we advise New Zealanders to prepare their households for the possibility of interruptions to essential services between 31 December 1999 and 31 March 2000. We believe people should prepare, just as they would for any natural emergency. They should prepare on the basis that interruptions to essential services could last as long as 3 days.

National research commissioned by the Y2K Readiness Commission has shown that 59 percent of New Zealanders have or will definitely make plans to prepare. This is a significant increase since March – up from 44 percent.

Another 14 percent say they may make plans when more information is available. 27 percent have not yet decided to make plans for any Y2K interruptions. The research also shows a clear need for information. 71 percent of New Zealanders want to know what help will be available if there is a problem.

Mr Logan said the challenge for the Y2K Readiness Commission was to ensure those who want information before acting, receive clear and sensible advice on what they can do to prepare their households for Y2K.

The public information programme’s messages are based on one of the world’s ultimate survivors – the cockroach.

“Ken the cockroach’s message to New Zealanders is to prepare a B Ready Kit containing the things they need,” Mr Logan said.

“We chose a cockroach to deliver the BY2K Wise message because they are known for their adaptation and survival skills. Fossils show that cockroaches have been around for more than 300 million years.

“Ken’s constant reminder to New Zealanders is: ‘All it takes is a little bit of planning, a little bit of thought’.

“A checklist for households, giving clear advice on how to prepare, will be mailed to all New Zealand homes in late August.”

The Y2K Readiness Commission is also actively working with the telecommunications, banking and energy sectors, central and local government, and Emergency Management & Civil Defence on their preparedness and communications.

“We can not sufficiently emphasise how essential it is that all product and service providers inform the public of their progress and expectations.

“Our goal is to ensure that New Zealand households are properly informed and that they are prepared for Y2K well ahead of time,” Mr Logan said.


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